Whether the videos are effective is another question

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

YouTube has plenty of videos with titles like “I tried Chloe Ting’s 2-Week Shred Challenge!” almost entirely by female users who document their progress over the 14 days of the challenge.

With most reporting a modicum of success in losing some pounds and defining certain muscle groups — mostly the stomach area — they are motivating. The most successful videos have the YouTube narrative down pat: relatable struggles at the beginning to do the exercises, a bit of progress, a disappointing challenging day, and then lo and behold an inspiring jump in progress for the last couple days. Look! A firmer belly area! …


Home in your pocket: reminiscing on travel before and after the mobile revolution

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Photo by soheyl dehghani on Unsplash

I lived in France when I was 20 for a year abroad. This was in, ahem, a pre-smartphone era, let’s just say. Hell, most people either didn’t have or had just started buying cellphones at all. I certainly thought they were a luxury and was proud enough of the landline cordless phone I’d bought at Walmart all by myself my sophomore year of college.

So when I got to France, there was no way to communicate with anyone who wasn’t standing in my vicinity. I didn’t miss it because I didn’t know it would exist one day. If I wanted to call home, I had to put my bank card in the handful of payphones outside in my dorm’s courtyard. It was expensive and inconvenient. Even emailing meant going to a computer room and learning to type on the French keyboard (which I had to unlearn when I moved back). …


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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Join the Union!

Nomad Union needs to grow, and I’m looking for your stories!

If you have experience living and working abroad, please bring your voice to the Union.

What I’m looking for:

· Draft submissions only.

· Articles that are somehow connected to living and working remotely, as well as returning home from life overseas. Long-term traveling, digital nomads, living as an expat, avid travelers: anything and everything that fits under that umbrella. I’m very open, but a simple vacation story won’t fit.

· Unique points of view. It’s not a necessity, but if you can somehow write about a niche, it will excite me as an editor. Examples: traveling as a queer person, traveling and mental health issues, other niches I can’t even fathom! Again, it’s not the only thing I’m looking for since all points of view are great, but it’s something I want to include. …


A satire (mostly)

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

You’ve got that friend with a name you don’t know how to spell, like Narelle. Norelle. Naral? Anyway, maybe N has mousy-brown hair but she rocks it now that it’s short and choppy and dyed pastel blue and okay the roots are showing but whatever, she’s a busy mom. Maybe she’s a marketing copywriter but she has three ear piercings and once took her kids to an Arcade Fire show so she’s still cool, okay? And maybe she’s married to Dave, but Dave has long hair so look, he knows gender is a construct and anyway he plays the mandolin.

And you just think, gee, N’s really got it tough in this world. …


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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hostels can be a great place to crash when you’re young, broke, and soaking up new cities and new countries. All you need is a place to get some sleep, right? And the communal atmosphere can be a great way to find companions for a night out or some daytime exploring.

Plenty of older travelers still don’t mind sharing a bunk bed with 11 strangers. I am not one of them, having gotten way past the point that I can put up with the discomfort, the snoring, the noise. I managed a few nights in my early 30s in South America, a few in Berlin in my mid-30s while I was apartment hunting. …


A humorous look at my dabbles in traditional femininity

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Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

As I toy with the idea of my own transness, it makes me think a lot about gender constructs and how they play into owning your gender. Clothing, hair, roles, I have always seen them all as artificially assigned and dangerously constraining. When trans folx talk about the unnecessary pressure to “pass” in order to be fully their true gender, I’m like deconstruct that shit.

But. But… When it comes to imaging myself as a woman, the little boy in me (okay okay, the adult me too) embraces the fantasy of traditional femininity. …


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Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

“But I’d like to get to know you,” sang Spanky and the Gang. And why not? All of us in our own way are fascinatingly unique souls. Maybe we’re similar to our friends and family, but no one else is exactly us. And that’s what makes being social creatures so wonderful — from every person we know we can take a little something away that we wouldn’t have without them.

And that means we can give to everyone we know a little something they wouldn’t have had without us. We all have that little gift of our uniqueness to share. If you’re going through difficult times and feel that you’re struggling to get to know yourself and let others do the same, here are five ways that helped me look at and share myself fully, honestly, and with self-compassion. …


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Image by Silviu Costin Iancu from Pixabay

I spent about two weeks in Playa del Carmen, Mexico in February, 2015, able to travel freely thanks to my recent entirely-remote job. I had rented an apartment there for a month with the option to continue if I liked it. I thought the daily Caribbean views and margaritas-at-noon vibe of a tropical tourist city would assure I liked it. Maybe I didn’t know anyone, but hey, I had Grindr; I was going to make vibrant new friends in no time.

Within two weeks I had met up with at least half a dozen men for drinks or sightseeing or dinner dates. A wealthy environmental scientist took me to a romantic dinner at a swanky beach restaurant where Mayan performers did fire tricks. I went to a club with a guy from Tijuana who didn’t speak much English but tolerated sweetly my halting Spanish. I laughed at the one sadly empty and hidden gay bar in town with a guy from London. A few I slept with, the guy from Tijuana I developed a deep crush on — only to find out years later through a random nostalgic Facebook stalk that he had died (didn’t see that coming, did you?). …


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Image by Alexas Photos from Pixabay

Look, we’ve all stared out the car window in crawling traffic, watching the strip mall hellscape that is our reality and dreamed of being on a ski slope in the Alps, or drinking Pilsners in a Bavarian village, or clubbing until 8 a.m. in Berlin. And by clubbing I mean taking in the city’s rich history. Doesn’t being able to jet off to Paris on a 50 euro Ryanair flight sound pretty great as you pass by another Supercuts?

But you don’t have any job prospects in Germany to get you visa sponsorship. You’ve never met a German you wanted to marry for EU access. Or they didn’t want to marry you; we’ve all been there. …


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I spent about six years roaming around the world, a dream of mine since I started studying French in middle school. After a trip to Colombia and Ecuador in 2013 gave me wanderlust like I hadn’t had in years, I decided to leave Chicago’s dreary winters and try to tap into the biggest advantage of a new digital working world: waking up anywhere I wanted to be that had WiFi.

It took a little time to secure something steady. I worked in Colombia in a remote village helping the school reform its English program through a local nonprofit. It didn’t pay much, but enough to live and travel around a part of Colombia most tourists never see, as well as the bits they blog heavily about. Finally, I got a remote job freelancing in my career field for a company that paid enough that I could live in cheap cities anywhere in the world — the kind of cities I would find more interesting anyway. …

About

Benjamin Peacock

Comedian, LGBTQI+ enthusiast, actor, mental health warrior, traveler, worker bee.

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